Foundation aims to empower teenage girls through training kit

Maria (centre) receiving a copy of the Maharani Trainer Kit (MTK) from Umayal (right) at the launch of MTK. With them are Vijayaratnam Foundation head Jayamalar Samuel.

THE push to empower adolescent girls in the country is set to gain momentum with the launch of the Maharani Trainer Kit (MTK) by the QI Group’s philanthropic arm, the Vijayaratnam Foundation.

The MKT, based on the experiences and feedback from dozens of programmes, is aimed at inspiring and empowering poor, marginalised and socially excluded teenage girls through the provision of skill and knowledge.

At the launch, foundation chairman Datin Sri Umayal Eswaran said the MKT can be used as a reference point for trainers who have experience working with teenage girls to run social empowerment programmes and will be a “live” document that will continue to evolve and improve.

One main goal of making the MKT available is to ensure standardisation of content, sustainability of the training programmes and allow its modules to be used individually or cumulatively.

“It is my hope that each of us can play an important role to provide adolescent girls with the tools they need to become socially and economically empowered,” Umayal said.

“We aim to inspire today’s generation of women to think bigger, dream higher and to be the best they can, to become women of character with confidence and who are motivated to achieve excellence in life.

“Investments in girls are investments in everyone’s future.

“It is the girls’ life trajectories that determine the health, education, wealth and success of each generation,” she added.

By itself, the Vijayaratnam Foundation’s own Maharani programme to tackle social issues and challenges faced by teenage girls, has touched the lives of more than 5,000 youths since 2010.

The Trainer Kit is categorised into three modules, focusing on: self-discovery, being one with nature and building communication and leadership skills.

Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, who attended the launch, echoed Umayal’s sentiments on investing in girls.

“Adolescence for boys typically ushers increased mobility and autonomy, but for girls, it comes with increased restrictions – fewer opportunities and less freedom to exercise choice.

“Reaching out to girls during adolescence is critical as decisions made and behaviour established during this period affect their horizons later in life.

“Investing in them is not only fair, it is a smart social and economic move.”

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